Government Relations

Welcome to the inaugural edition of OVBTA’s government affairs roundup. The purpose of distributing this information to OVBTA members is to keep our members informed of important legislative developments impacting the business travel industry. It will also aim to equip our members with the information needed to become more engaged and involved in legislative efforts impacting the industry. Please reach out to me if you have any specific questions or comments to share: bbartle@aires.com.

 

Legislative News Roundup

  • Brexit: Withdrawal negotiations remain ongoing. Brexit day is March 29, 2019. Unless PM Theresa May can reach a transition agreement with the EU which can then be passed within the UK Parliament, we could be facing a “Hard Brexit” with no deal or transition plan in place. Among other things, GBTA recommends that those in the travel industry take the following actions in preparation for a no-deal Brexit:
    • Prepare for the worst-case no deal scenario. This includes reviewing current and future purchased flights that could be grounded as a result of a hard Brexit.
    • Align with travelers to ensure proper visa compliance measures are considered in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
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  • EU Visa Digitalization: GBTA held a joint conference with VDR in Europe in December 2018. Among the topics discussed were the digitalization of Schengen visas in the future. It is expected that the European Commission will launch a study on the feasibility of a truly electronic visa system and look for the opportunity to potentially implement a paper-less visa application process (including the ability to do away with paper-based visa stickers) in the near future. Per an EU Commission Fact Sheet published earlier in 2018, the tourism and travel industry play a key role in the European economy, currently contributing about 10% to the EU’s GDP. However, burdensome visa procedures deter some travelers, particularly those from emerging markets, from completing a trip to the region. The EU Commission recognizes the opportunity that could be presented by removing these barriers.
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  • U.S. CBP Biometric Exit Program: GBTA will closely monitor the development of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s biometric exit program roll-out. The facial recognition software will aim to enhance the airport screening and boarding process in the U.S. and will continue to be implemented in additional U.S. airports this year for international and domestic travel. To learn more about this CBP initiative, please visit https://www.cbp.gov/travel/biometrics
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  • Towards the end of 2018, Congress passed a bill to reauthorize the budget for the Federal Aviation Administration for five years. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 93-6 and the House passed by a vote of 398-23.

The passage of this bill helps advance key initiatives of GBTA’s Legislative agenda. This includes, among other things:

  1. Greater certainty via a long-term extension (five years);
  2. Putting an end to the reallocation of 9-11 security fees towards anything other than traveler security and TSA;
  3. Confirming that only PreCheck passengers can benefit from the increased traveler satisfaction and use of the PreCheck lanes;
  4. Regulating the use of phones on planes… #NoCallsOnPlanes; and
  5. No increase in Passenger Facility Charges.

Get Involved

  • The Legislative Summit in Washington, DC will be held this year from May 14-16. Registration is now open. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain an insider’s perspective into the federal government’s legislative process and meet with your elected officials to advance a bipartisan pro-business traveler agenda. GBTA has an early bird registration rate of $275.00 for GBTA members. After March 12, the cost will be $300.00 for GBTA members and $325.00 for non GBTA members.

 

I invite you to learn more about GBTA’s governmental advocacy actions by reviewing the following link: https://www.gbta.org/Portals/0/Documents/Advocacy/Government%20Relations%20Guide%20May%202018%20(1).pdf